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Friday, November 30, 2007

Quiet before the storm?

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2007 at 11:16 AM

The parking-ban lights were blinking this morning down here in the South End of the Queen City. I trust Ol' John King is giving 'em a tester. King John's a former Burlington Police officer/sergeant/commander who's now in charge of all things related to parking enforcement and the winter parking ban.

Then this press release arrives from John "Be Prepared" via email. Hey, remember fax machines? Don't them seem ancient? The picture's from last winter. Wasn't that long ago, was it?

With the possibility of a snow storm Sunday night, it’s time to think about winter parking.

When conditions require the City of Burlington to plow city streets, or in anticipation of a snow storm the City can declare a parking ban.  Parking bans start at 10:00 P.M. and last until 7:00 A.M. during which time vehicles are not allowed to park on any city street or city owned parking lots.

When a storm has been declared the yellow snow lights must be turned on prior to 3:00 P.M.  When the lights are on, the ban is in effect for all city streets, not just the street the lights are located on.

Vehicles on city streets or parking lots during a ban will receive a $95.00 parking ticket and are towed to another street.  To prevent your vehicle from being towed, it is suggested you make arrangements now where you will park your vehicle during a storm.

You are allowed to park in any City owned parking garage from 10:00 P.M. to 7:00 A.M. with no charge.  Please do not park on the top (roof) of any garage.

Remember to avoid a tow call 658-SNOW for updated information. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

On Vacation Freyne

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2007 at 3:38 PM

An honor to be replaced in the print edition this vacation week by the one and only David Sirota. First met David when he was a [young] press secretary for a certain Vermont congressman with a Brooklyn accent. Thanks, David.

And here's something a little different. Marie Claire, pictured with her dad Tim Whiteford,a St. Mike's prof, manages Speeder & Earl's on Pine Street to payher bills. But at the moment, she's on one of those month-long other-side-of-the-world vacation trips to visit a friend in India, notIndiana the state,  but India the country -  you know, where Gandhi preached a gospel of nonviolence.

We knew Marie Claire inherited some of her Scottish father's musicaltalent - Tim's the organizer of Richmond, Vermont's Celtic New Year -but the young lady picked up some writing talent somewhere as well, asevidenced by her entertaining online reports from India posted on blog.

Here's a taste:

... you find your breaking point and pass it.

...when the taxi driver is trying to rip you off and tells you no he can'tput the meter on because it's broken and you've heard that line ahundred times you look at him and yell "THAT'S A LIE!" and you can tellhe knows it by the succeeding gleeful peals of laughter.

... your snot is black.  one day in Delhi and your snot - is - black.  we won't even discuss the q-tips in the garbage can.

...your rickshaw driver lets you off a block early because the street isheavily congested with traffic.  due to a wedding.  complete withgroom-on-horse, marching band, hand-held lamps powered by a generatoron a wagon, dancing indian men a la Elaine from Seinfeld.

...fifteen minutes after noting (out loud) the bad teeth and annoyingindoor smoking habits of the large and curiously well-groomed party ofBrits seated next to you at dinner, the restaurant manager stands upand announces to the dining room at large that it is their distinctpleasure this evening to welcome the mayor of London and hisentourage.  whoops.

... oh well, as you sit and enjoy theevening's "entertainment" hired in his honor, you become certain thatthe belly dancer who is now gyrating around him while he tries to enjoyhis meal is making him much more uncomfortable than your verbalfaux-pas, which he probably didn't hear anyway.

... i hope.

... you really want to go to the beach.  good thing you're heading there tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bernie Sanders
Deja-vu all over again...

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2007 at 6:51 PM

Wednesday morning on your Champlain Valley FM radio dial: Louie Manno & Jim Condon, the star radio duo who took the town by storm in 1986 on Q-99 will be together again - though only for a day.

Manno's recently slid in behind the mike at 102.3 FM "Best Country" WLFE as the replacement for the late, great G.G. Griggs, killed in an untimely single-vehicle accident in Swanton a couple weeks ago. His pickup slammed into a tree. No seat belt, said the police.

Manno & Condon hit The People's Republic of Burlington during Bernie Sanders' third term as mayor in 1986. The boys were the hot morning duo on Burlington's radio dial well into the 1990s. They finished up on the AM dial at1390 WKDR with former Burlington Free Press city hall scribe and talk-show man Mark Johnson in 2001.

Jim and Louie next started up and operated the Radio Deli on Pearl Street in Burlington for a few years. They sold the deli.  Condon [whose almost 20-year-old intro still prefaces Mark's morning talker on WDEV, 550 AM and 96.1 FM] has found a second life in politics - he's a successful Democratic state representative from Colchester!

Wednesday morning it'll be Louie & Jim - together again on WLFE/St. Albans, Vermont...

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Bernie Sanders
Use it, or lose it...

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2007 at 8:52 AM

Funny how this works.

Scary, actually.

Do you think if The New York Times and the Washington Post and CBS and CNN and the rest of the nation's corporate-owned-and-operated news crowd had actually done their journalism jobs right, we'd be in such a mess?

A senseless military bloodbath in Iraq. Environmental crises locally and globally. A crumbling dollar. And the crooks and liars still in command.

First Amendment?

Use it or lose it, eh?

Vermont's one-of-a-kind Independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders was recently the keynote speaker in Atlanta, Georgia at the annual convention of The Democratic Socialists of America annual convention.

Did the American corporate media notice?

Are you serious?

The only press coverage we could find was on the website of the Atlanta Progressive News:

"We’re not radical. You know who’s radical? George W. Bush," Sanderssaid in his remarks. "Bush says we can’t afford money for foodstamps... but we can afford $10 billion a month in Iraq, we can affordto repeal the estate tax. If anybody tells you we can’t afford healthcare for all or getting all children out of poverty... you look them inthe eye and say Bernie Sanders is on the Budget Committee and it justain’t so."

More here.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
— The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Ever wonder why they made it the very "First," eh?

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Good point, eh?

Posted By on Mon, Nov 26, 2007 at 8:19 PM

Made on the Vermont radio airwaves Monday morning by John Nichols [right], distinguished progressive writer for The Nation and a telephone guest on today's Mark Johnson Show on WDEV AM-FM:

"Impeachment is not an option but a necessary response to a presidency that so dramatically mismanaged and misguided this nation. If we can’t impeach now, then we can never impeach because I guarantee to you that every president will always tell you that the times are too extraordinary to allow that president to be held to account.

"On this one I’ve got to go with Jefferson and say that the times are never too extraordinary to uphold the Constitution."

Nichols was on the panel at this evening's "Impeachment Teach-In" at Dartmouth. More on John Nichols here.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Duck Wisdom

Posted By on Sun, Nov 25, 2007 at 9:27 AM

Location: The harbor in Burlington, Vermont near the U.S. Coast Guard station. The boatless boat-access ramp.

A bit of a chill. Windy, too.

Yours truly was the only homo sapiens. Haven’t been down there all year. These guys had been sitting and floating along the shoreline having a little chat when I pulled up.

I popped out of my freshly inspected 2000 edition motor vehicle {McCaffrey’s Sunoco at North & North] and they came right over.

“Where you been,” asked the babe on the left?

“Slight life-style change,” said I. “2007’s been my year off the bike. It wasn’t just the cancer, it was time for a change of the routine. People still tell me they saw me on the bike the other day somewhere. I’ve stopped telling them I’ve been out of the bike saddle since December. People, after all, will see what they want to see.”

“You don’t have to remind us of that,” quacked the dude on the right.

“Sorry,” said I. “No bread. I just came down here on an impulse.”

“We’ll survive,” he replied. “After all, we ducks do not live by bread alone.”


“Just explain to us,” asked the female on the left, “why George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are still in charge, quack, quack?  In our little world, one-legged liars just don’t cut it, know what I mean?”

I told her I did. I also told here that “Justice in the human world often doesn’t get delivered as quickly as in the duck world. Especially in a ‘democracy’ which has rules and regulations and procedures and timelines and elections!"

“You people are so pathetic,” said one of the guys on the right.  “They stole the 2000 election. Your Supreme Court stopped the Florida vote recount that would have put Al Gore in the White House. An inconvenient truth, eh?

“Then the Bush-Cheney ruling team makes up bold lies to con your Congress and your 'media' and your crazy population into believing wild lies about Iraq so they can justify an invasion in 2003. And the bloodbath continues. For what?”

"Good question," I replied.  "Look, I’ve always wished human brains were as smart as duck brains. C’est la vie. You play the cards and the species you’re dealt, right?”

“I hear ya,” quacked one of the dames on the left.

"But,” says I, “it’s not like all human brains are dysfunctional. You guys probably aren’t going to fly cross-state, but Monday at 7 p.m. there’s going to be a big Impeachment Teach-In at Dartmouth’s Moore Hall.

“Among the participants in this human reality-check are Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Nation magazine writer John Nichols and Newfane Selectman Dan DeWalt who started the impeachment ball rolling a couple years back with a Vermont Town Meeting Day resolution.

“Hey, guys, we’re only human,” I told them.

Quack, quack, quack...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Behind the glass

Posted By on Fri, Nov 23, 2007 at 10:40 AM

All year long, I've been caffeinating, chit-chatting and reading the daily newspapers in print, down at Speeder & Earl's on beautiful Pine Street. And all year long, I've been sitting under the beautiful stained-glass creations in the window, not knowing who was behind them.

Would you believe an ex-lawyer?

No shit!

Finally met the face behind the glass on Wednesday. Chris Jeffrey told us he's a graduate of Northeastern Law School and spent 17 years practicing law, primarily as an advocate over at Vermont Tenants. But life has its different chapters, doesn't it?

"I decided being a lawyer kind of sucks," he said.

In 2000, Chris rented a little studio in Barre, Vermont and followed his passion and his talent - creating custom stained glass.

The rest is Mr. Jeffrey's evolving story - check him out here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Message Control

Posted By on Wed, Nov 21, 2007 at 9:25 AM

Yours truly was working on the Ol' "Inside Track" column yesterday, so I had an excuse to miss Gov. Jim Douglas' UVM presser at which he attempted to embellish and defend his environmentally-friendly image.

Here's the official spin from the Fifth Floor:

A new partnership between state government and the University of Vermont will look to develop a strategy that leverages the state’s green reputation into a leadership role in the emerging carbon credit market, while pursuing biomass research and enhancing environmental education in public schools, Governor Jim Douglas announced today.

Gov. Douglas was joined by UVM President Daniel Mark Fogel, Commission Chairman Ernie Pomerleau and cabinet secretaries at a press conference today to discuss the findings and recommendations of the Governor’s Commission on Climate Change.

Douglas applauded the efforts of the Commission and Plenary Group. “Their reports speak for themselves. Vermonters care about protecting our quality of life and that connection with our open spaces will help in fighting global warming while bringing a new green economy within our reach.”

Nice, huh?

Unfortunately for Jimbo, we live in a country with a free press that allows those who don't see things the Guv's way a chance to express themselves.

John Curran, Montpeculiar bureau chief of The Associated Press also noted in his report:

Neither Douglas nor Agency of Natural Resources Secretary George Crombie could give specifics of the carbon-trading standard plan or set a timetable for it, saying instead the announcement signified a road map for Vermont's energy future.

The Commission on Climate Change urged Douglas to expand the state's energy efficiency programs for electricity and gas to heating oil and other fuels, but his announcement Tuesday contained no proposal for that.

Instead, he said, he planned to work with the Legislature in its upcoming session in hopes of reaching consensus on an all-fuels utility...

"The Vermont Green Standard will be synonymous with a guarantee of rigorous expectations of reducing carbon emissions and helping to promote the goal of reversing global warming. The Vermont Green Standard will tell buyers and sellers of green credits that they are making an investment in verifiable efforts to reduce carbon emissions."

But he couldn't explain how the efforts would reduce the state's carbon footprint, a key element in the mission of the Commission on Climate Change when it was established nearly two years ago.

When asked who would set the criteria for what qualifies for the "Vermont Green Standard," he said: "This is a new concept I'm presenting you today, so it's got to be developed."

Critics also got their say in the reports in the Freeps and the Rutland Herald.

Nice try, Jim.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Another Tracky Tuesday...

Posted By on Tue, Nov 20, 2007 at 8:11 AM


Up an at 'em on this icy, damp, snowy morning in the Queen City of Burlington, Vermont. An "Inside Track" column to pump out, as they say. [Those watchful eyes are around the corner on Pine Street.]

And this blogger didn't learn until yesterday afternoon that "Freyne Land" had been quoted in the editorial in the distinguished Rutland Herald last Wednesday. It was a Rep. Peter Welch quote taken from our blog coverage of Welchie's meeting with anti-Iraq War folks in the Barre library. Yours truly was cited and identified as "columnist and blogger" [though Seven Days wasn't mentioned].

I confess that now, in the Internet Age, when the Rutland Herald "hard copy" is no longer delivered to Big Bad Burlington, I don't read it as thoroughly as in the olden days when I held it in my two hands.

Then, yesterday, in a Louis Porter story in the Rutland Herald and Times Argus on continuing reaction to Gov. Jim Douglas' intervention in Windsor County marijuana prosecutions, "Freyne Land" got quoted again. Apparently the Guv was not available, so Louis used a quote from Gov. Scissorhands that we got last Wednesday out at the Williston rest area. Mr. Porter gave me credit as "columnist," but, unfortunately, did not mention the existence of the bloody blog!

Hey, c'mon Louis, it's the 21st Century. The brave new world of high-tech.

Got to go with the flow.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Bernie Sanders
The General and the Senator...

Posted By on Mon, Nov 19, 2007 at 2:57 PM

According to VT National Guard Chaplain Jim MacIntyre, 2662 Vermonters serving in the National Guard and Reserves have been deployed to the Iraq and Afghanistan war zones. And on Monday he joined  Adjutant Gen. Michael Dubie and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who announced he’d secured a $3 million grant to expand the outreach program for returning Vermont war veterans and their families. Said Ol' Bernardo:

This funding will enable us to do everything we can to help National Guard and Reserve members and their families receive the help they need as they readjust and transition back to life here at home. At a time when returning soldiers across the country are suffering from extremely high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, these funds should play a vitally needed role.

Sanders also noted a CBS News Investigation released last week found Iraq war veterans more than twice as likely to commit suicide as non-vets. And the Dept. of Defense’s Task Force on Mental Health reported 49 percent of returning National Guard troops reported psychological concerns like PTSD and TBI.

General Dubie said that across the board, returning Vermont Guard troops are happy that someone is actually asking how they’re doing:

We had a soldier who got off the plane down at Camp Shelby. He came back from Iraq, from Ramadi, Iraq. And I said to him, “We’re going to be here for you.”

And he said, “Sir, are you going to be here two years from now? Are you going to be here 10 years from now?”

And I told him we would.

Currently, said Gen. Dubie, there are about 80 Vermont Guard troops in the Iraq war zone, That’s the smallest deployment, he said, in five years.

The Vermont Guard is comprised of 3700 troops: 1000 in the Air Guard and 2700 in the Army Guard.

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